What You Need For Your First Cat

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We’ve had cats for as long as I remember as an adult. Since my father was more of a dog person, the first thing I did when I moved out on my own was to add a cat to our household. I remember being overwhelmed when I started thinking about what you need for your first cat. There were so many options.

What you need for your first cat

What You Need For Your First Cat

Thirty years later, we’ve been blessed to have a number of different cats join us as part of our family. I’ve gained years of personal experience and had many discussions with our vet about what you need for your first cat. These are the basics of what you need for your first cat:

  • Food. Check with the place you’re adopting your cat from to find out what food they’re used to. Be certain to choose a food that is appropriate for their age and weight. If you need to change their food, you’ll need to do it gradually.
  • Food and water bowl. While you can use bowls from your cupboard, you’ll see less messes from spills if you get bowls that are intended to hold cat food and water. I have always found it easiest to get two separate bowls rather than one double bowl.
  • Cat carrier. It will be easiest and the least traumatic for your cat if you transport them in a cat carrier rather than putting them in a cardboard box or trying to hold them during the ride home.
  • Scratching post. Cats love to scratch and to encourage them NOT to scratch on your walls or furniture, you should provide them with a sturdy cat scratching post.
  • Places to play and hide. Cats are adventurous by nature and love to play and hide. You can purchase a few cat trees or simply use empty cardboard boxes and empty paper bags. They’ll have a great time jumping on and playing in them.
  • Cat toys. Experiment a bit and see what type your cat enjoys the best. At the least, pick up a few toy mice with catnip in them.
  • Litter box and cat litter.  I choose a kitty litter that is 100% dust free. It’s better for you and better for your cat because no one will be breathing in dust when the box is used or changed.

What you need for your first cat

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In addition to the supplies I listed above, you’ll also need resources to turn to when you have questions. The petMD Cat Care Center is a great source of information on everything to do with your new pet including bringing a new cat into your home. I recommend Introducing a New Kitten to Your Home for some really valuable tips for the first time you bring your new pet home.

What you need for your first cat


  1. Danielle K says
    These is a great list for what you need for a cat. We love the arm & hammer litter - keeps our house odor free.
  2. What a cutie pie! I don't have any cats but my friends who do always say odor control is probably the hardest thing they battle with their cat litter.
  3. Miranda Sherman says
    We have been talking about getting a cat so I am glad I found this post as I have not even realized we would need half of these items! Thanks for the heads up!
  4. Jacqui Odell says
    I have two cats, but they are outside cats. I couldn't stand all the scratching and tearing stuff up. 
  5. Tammi @ My Organized Chaos says
    Great post! A friend of mine is getting a cat for the first time and asked me about it. It's been so long since we got one ourselves, I found it hard to give her the right info. Sending this to her, so thank you - and for the coupon!!
  6. Karen Glatt says
    I think cats are such great pets because they are easy to take care of. I have a lot of these items for my cat, and my cat behaves very well and is getting old. He likes to sleep with me on my bed!!
  7. Nicole Dziedzic says
    We have a kitty that we rescued a while ago, she has plenty of toys and even a cat climber house. We want one that connects out onto the patio though. They are pricey but our cat loves lounging by the windows.
  8. Alison Gibb says
    This new kitty litter is awesome!! I love not smelling the nasty kitty box!!
  9. This is a great list of must have items for first time cat owners. You should also be ready to play, because cats love to play.
  10. shelly peterson says
    This is good information to know. I have never had a cat as an adult but have thought about getting one.
  11. Good tips! I had cats all my life. I have two right now.
  12. I would add a cat tree, or at least identify (and clear off) a few places up off the floor where kitty is shown (maybe with treats) that it's her place to jump up. This is especially true if you have other cats, dogs or little kids. Kitty wants to escape 'up' usually.

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